Why Math and Science Courses Should Be Taken in the Classroom



Courses that require in-person, face-to-face time are Math and Science courses.  Because math and science have a broad curriculum and require learning that is a step-by-step, explanation-based format that requires attention to detail; therefore, these courses should not be offered online.

Online courses are basically independent study, and if you get stuck on learning a concept you have to either continue reading your textbook, while attempting to understand and learn the lesson or email your instructor and try to explain the problem you are having. Then, you may have to wait at least 24 hours for your instructor to respond back to you.

However, in the classroom, you can get instant feedback from your instructor.  There is also in-person tutoring if you live on-campus, and this is also more feedback you need to understand and practice math and scientific problems in the textbook or given to you in class.


In-Person Math Courses


The breakdown of mathematics and numeric rules requires the student to be able to see the instructor solving the problem, and instantaneously, the student gets a response.  Algebraic equations, geometry, calculus, and other math courses need face-to-face learning and interaction.  A student who is struggling has to practice at home as well until they are able to master mathematical rules and are able to find the correct answer on their own.

Those who are scholars of mathematics find it easy to take online math courses, but those who are not should never take math online.  It is easy to fall behind each week because the coursework builds upon each weekly concept being taught.

Many students who dislike math did not master it in elementary and middle school.  Basic math begins in the early grades.  Without practice at home, students begin to dislike math.

For example, teaching multiplication should be broken down better in the classroom without students using a calculator or looking on the internet.  In-person math courses are not as hard if the student takes the initiative to ask questions.  Write down notes of the steps you know how to do, and you understand, then write down the parts of the problem where you do not understand and ask the teacher.

Math courses taken in the classroom give students extra time to master the lesson.  In early grades, sometimes teachers move on too quickly, too.


School book doodle, math textbook for education. Cartoon-style clip art. Vector illustration isolated on white background.
School book doodle, math textbook for education. Cartoon-style clip art. Vector illustration isolated on white background. Image: Adobe Stock

Online Math Courses


Online math courses are even faster at the pace of the expected learning objectives.  Depending on the class, you have video lectures and these videos show you how to solve each problem.

Some online math courses require prerequisites, too.  For example, if you are taking College Algebra or Trigonometry online it is always good to take developmental math courses to get the student used to what many of the math rules mean and how to arrive at the correct answer.


In-Person  Science Courses           


Science projects and in-person science courses can be really fun. But if you are struggling with science, this can be daunting.  However, in the classroom, you get hands-on knowledge with models like our solar system, the periodic table, and how to dissect animals.  Group projects help students learn with their own scientific hypotheses. Each student can share their ideas, but like math, it takes the student taking notes and asking questions not just to answer correctly but also to know what to do when they have to work on their own on exams and in their respective fields.


Online Science Courses


Online science courses can look like a foreign language if you do not know or understand the lesson.  However, one reason students may choose to take online science courses is because it is more convenient.


What Do Experts Think about Online Math and Science Courses?


Schoenfeld and Daro (2024), “Mathematics instruction, by contrast, is much the same as it was a half century ago—hierarchically organized and inflexible with each building block taking up a semester or an entire year.  K-12 mathematics education in the US is structured in ways that are problematic and do not reflect international trends.” (Schoenfeld, Daro, 1297)




In conclusion, science and math courses build upon itself. You must know the rules of each subject in order to get the correct answer. Online math and science are not feasible for long-term learning.



  1. Schoenfeld, Alan and Phil Daro. “More Math less ‘math wars.’” Science. 383, no. 6689 (2024). 1297-1299



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